The U.S. District Court For The Western District of Pennsylvania has rejected the amended complaint of Susan and Carl Antonucci in an ongoing lawsuit regarding Boston Scientific’s pelvic mesh products. This amendment would have expanded the number of products that the Antonuccis alleged caused the injuries of Susan Antonucci.
According to the opinion published June 28, 2021, Susan Antonucci was implanted with Boston Scientific’s Lynx Suprapubic Mid-Urethral Sling System in 2006 to address bladder prolapse and incontinence associated with age and perimenopause. Finding the Lynx alone ineffective, Antonucci received another Boston Scientific implant: the Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit in 2008.
In 2012 she began having both products removed. This process was concluded in 2014 when “most of both the Lynx and the Pinnacle” had been taken out. Susan and Carl Antonnuci filed a lawsuit against Boston Scientific in 2013. At that time, they only named the Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit as the Boston Scientific product of concern.
The Antonuccis did not include any pretrial mention of the Lynx system until March 2021. U.S District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand reviewed the request to amend the complaint, which would have added the Lynx Suprapubic Mid-Urethral Sling System as one of the devices that caused Mrs. Antonucci’s injuries.
In response to this amendment, Boston Scientific’s representation sent a counter motion. In their preliminary motion, Boston Scientific argued that adding the Lynx to the case at this juncture would unfairly prejudice the case and unduly inconvenience the defense who have built their entire case around the assumption that the Pinnacle would be the only device in question.
In response, Judge Wiegand examined whether the amendment was “undue, motivated by bad faith, or prejudicial to the opposing party.” After considering the timeline of the case, including when the Lynx was implanted and the fact that the Final Pretrial Order was declared on February 19, 2021, Judge Wiegand decided to reject the amended complaint.
As explanation, Judge Wiegand simply stated that the amendment came after an “undue delay.” Seeing as the plaintiffs waited 15 years since the mesh’s implantation, 9 years since the beginning of its removal, 8 years since the lawsuit was filed, and 3 years since discovery began, even the most generous timetables would posit that the time to add the Lynx to the lawsuit was years ago. Amending the complaint so close to trial would impose undue hardships to the defense, essentially sanctioning trial by ambush.
This was not a unilateral victory for Boston Scientific. Of the eight categories of discussion regarding the Lynx that they sought to seal from entering the court record, seven were granted. However, the defense did not manage to seal the testimony of the surgeon who did Mrs. Antonucci’s revision surgery, Dr. Michael Bonidie.
At this juncture, the fate of the lawsuit seems to be to proceed to trial. Though the Antonuccis cannot use most of their evidence concerning the Lynx system, they still have three years of relevant discovery about the Pinnacle system.